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LAWSUIT FILED TO STOP CLOSURES OF CLINICS Disabled rights activists have filed suit in Alameda County Superior Court in Hayward against Alameda County in an attempt to stop the closures of Central Health Center in Oakland and ambulatory care clinics at Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro. “Closing clinics and limiting access to health care does more than keep me from seeing a doctor,” said plaintiff Janien Harrison in a press release. “It threatens the independence I’ve won through hard work and painful therapy over the last four years. It takes just one untreated medical problem to erase the progress I’ve made, and I am not alone.” The county announced plans to close the clinics later this month. According to Oakland’s Disability Rights Advocates, which is representing the plaintiffs along with Bay Area Legal Aid, the two clinics are the only primary care available to indigent and low-income residents of Alameda County. The suit alleges that the closures and budget cuts discriminate against disabled patients who rely on the clinics. The plaintiffs argue that people with disabilities will be more likely to suffer serious health complications as a result of these closures than those without. “The county is threatening residents’ health and welfare, and shirking its responsibilities under state law,” said Disability Rights Advocates attorney Stephen Tollafield. “If the court does not stop the closures, our clients and thousands of others risk losing their independence and possibly their lives.” Chief Assistant County Counsel Richard Karlsson is handling the case for Alameda County. He could not be reached for comment. – Jason Dearen MOFO ADDS PARTNER FROM BURNS, DOANE Morrison & Foerster has hired patent prosecution partner Gerald Swiss from intellectual property firm Burns, Doane, Swecker & Mathis’ Redwood Shores office. Swiss, who specializes in pharmaceutical and chemical patents, joined MoFo’s Palo Alto office Monday. Swiss said MoFo’s state-of-the-art biotech practice meshes with the future direction of biotechnology. “I see the technology in the biotechnology group changing, having an additional focus on small molecules as opposed to peptides and proteins as in the past,” Swiss said, adding that MoFo’s biotechnology practice is “a complement for my practice,” which focuses on small molecules. Swiss said an associate, patent agent and two paralegals that were working with him also left Burns, Doane and might join him at MoFo, depending on how many of them the firm can absorb. MoFo has 80 attorneys and 10 patent agents in its patent group. Swiss is a 14-year veteran of Burns, Doane, which has approximately 100 attorneys firmwide, including about 16 in its Redwood Shores office. A 1981 graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey, he began his career as a researcher at Schering-Plough Corp. He previously did contract and patent work for the Chevron Research Co. and was a patent attorney for Syntex (U.S.A.) Inc. – Brenda Sandburg

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